Battersea puts down 2,815 dogs

A third of the dogs taken in by Battersea Dogs and Cats Home were put down last year, with the majority killed because they were too dangerous to re-home.

A total of 7,866 dogs were taken to the rescue centre in 2009, of which 2,815 (36 per cent) were put down; 69 per cent of those destroyed were healthy but judged too much of a risk to be offered for re-homing because of their temperament or behaviour.

Scott Craddock, the home's director of operations, told BBC One's Panorama that the animal centre was "mopping up" society's problems. He said 3,600 Staffordshire bull terriers were taken in last year, nine times the 396 handed over in 1996, and described the rise as a "huge problem".

Bull breeds and bull breed crosses – many of them Staffordshire bull terriers – account for more than half of the home's longer-term residents.

Mr Craddock said many of those dogs had to be kept in individual kennels which has a huge impact on the space available at the animal shelter, which is marking its 150th anniversary this year.